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Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance forays into fashion e-tailing

by April 2, 2016 General

MUMBAI: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has entered into ecommerce fashion retail though a platform called AJIO, targeting India’s online spenders with high-margin, curated fashion. The portal, named after its telecom unit Reliance Jio and upcoming digital wallet Jio Money, has been tested on its employees for the last three months.

The diverse group with interests in telecom, media and petroleum is already one of the country’s largest retailer and operates department chain Reliance Trends and Reliance Brands, which has partnered more than a dozen premium international labels including Diesel and Superdry.

However, the new venture will mainly focus on designer wear and high-fashion global brands to differentiate itself in the cluttered online apparel market driven mostly by discounts.

“We will leverage the Jio ecosystem and its network for delivery. This is part of our omni-channel strategy and we aim to reach 15,000 pin codes in the next two months,” said Sanjay Mehra, chief executive, AJIO.

The company will sell nearly 200 brands that they have already partnered, including Cross Jeans from Turkey, Australia’s Holster and MDS of Singapore. “About 60% of our merchandise will be unique and our model will be an inventory-based marketplace,” added Mehra, who joined Reliance last year from US firm Wolverine Worldwide.

The group’s entry into online fashion retail comes against the backdrop of a recent government rule that capped sourcing and discounting by players that have foreign investors.

This would affect most of the existing players, including Myntra, part of the country’s biggest online retailer, Flipkart, Amazon India, Snapdeal and Jabong. While apparel and footwear make up the largest slice in India’s online retail pie, the number of retailers selling them is the highest, due to the lofty profit margin, as per Euromonitor International, which pegs the segment at nearly `20,000 crore now and is expected to reach more than `70,000 crore by 2020.